Residents are the most crucial topic in destination sustainability issues as residents are an essential element needed to maintain a destination. The same is true for tourist attractions. Many parts of the world seek tourism benefits in order to maintain residents’ livelihoods as traditional industries collapse [1
]. These residents, however, have been living in their areas for a long time before strangers started to visit them. Thus, they have had to experience consistent changes in their own lives under protean tourism-related situations. Moreover, residents will continue living in their areas whether or not tourism development succeeds. In other words, only the residents will remain, regardless of the conditions of the destination. Thus, it seems an awkward question to ask how we can recognize those living at a tourist destination.
The narrow research topics employed to clarify the relevant causal relationships treat residents as just a part of a thriving tourism development process. In recent decades, many studies on residents in tourist destinations have been based on sustainability [2
]. Two logical concepts can explain the importance of residents from the perspective of tourist destination sustainability. Once a tourist destination has been developed, it must be followed by tourist visits and consumption, so tourists’ perceptions of the residents are as important as those of other tourist resources. These perspectives are important because residents’ attitudes affect the tourists’ visiting (revisiting) intentions [6
]. Meanwhile, residents should be supportive of tourism development to sustain their places of residence and destination attractions. The economic profit and sociocultural advantages from the tourism industry could help encourage residents to support tourism [4
]. However, focusing on the specific role of residents in satisfying tourists or on the specific factors needed to support residents is not enough, given that the primary reason for tourism development is the residents.
Further, modern influential methodologies sometimes regard residents’ lives as schematized data for two reasons. The first is that a positivist approach to resident research reveals hidden situations using verified variables and manipulative definitions because quantitative methods refine and investigate factors that are already known. However, sufficiently diverse variables do not exist to thoroughly explain how residents perceive tourism [9
]. The other reason is that the cross-sectional approach of resident research makes ongoing conditions seem to be temporary incidents, by focusing on limited timeframes like festival periods [9
]. It is thus reasonable to apply a qualitative approach to identify why some of the hypotheses of past resident research remain unverified [15
Residents must become a significant theme in tourism studies more than any topic, not through an apparent cause-and-effect relationship, but through their own integrated daily lives [9
]. In developing this comprehensive view, the present paper captures the essence of residents’ experiences in tourist destinations. That is, by inspecting residents’ specific situations with highly subjective complexity, this study analyzes the current existence of residents without proving particular objective facts. For this reason, this paper does consider residents as an attractive resource for the interconnection between destinations and tourists, as an opponent to be persuaded for tourism development, or as a seeker to be gained through tourism engagement. Therefore, this paper adopts an interpretive approach, a longitudinal question, and an individual case-oriented interview. In this way, we established two research questions: Q1) Is it possible to improve our understanding of residents in a tourist destination without proving variable relationships? Q2) Is it possible to improve our understanding of the residents in a tourist destination by studying longitudinal experience?
2. Literature Review
When tourism development occurs, the lives of the area’s residents change in many ways. Nevertheless, these residents must accept such changes and continue their lives; the feelings of this process may be both hopeful and hopeless. If the future of tourism is considered hopeful, residents will interpret tourism development favorably, but if it is considered inconvenient and unavoidable, they may perceive such development as hostile, which will lead to either positive or negative support for tourism development. The SET (Social Exchange Theory) [17
] has been used to explain that residents are supportive of tourism development when the benefits of tourism outweigh the losses. [15
]. SET is “a general sociological theory concerned with understanding the exchange of resources between individuals and groups in an interaction situation” [20
]. Furthermore, prior studies have studied what factors make residents react positively nor negatively toward tourism development using SET [9
]. The regional economic effects from the tourism industry result in more significant employment opportunities and higher wages [21
]; on the other hand, revitalizing the local economy leads to higher taxes, soaring real estate prices, and increased living costs [15
]. Such research on the phenomena of individuals as residents and the situation of tourism has usually been undertaken to reveal the factors underlying support for tourism development.
Under tourism, an area where residents have lived for a long time becomes well-known, and the onset of visits by outsiders also changes the lives of residents. Tourists are strangers to the residents and stay for only a short period. Nevertheless, with repeated and intermittent encounters with various targets, residents become accustomed to their relationship with tourists. A large number of tourists visiting an area strengthens the pride of the residents because it means that their destination is superior [22
]. Thus, due to the interest of tourists, residents may preserve the valuable natural environment and traditional culture in the destination [21
]. On the other hand, growing pressure on tourists has made residents think negatively about tourists [23
]. Residents’ negative attitudes toward tourists are a result of exceeding the area’s human capacity limit. In particular, the crime, trash, and traffic congestion caused by the actions of tourists have adverse social and cultural impacts on residents [25
]. Recently, research has been conducted on tourism development that exceeds the capacity of the destination using overtourism and gentrification theories [22
]. Previous studies have shown that the relationship between residents and tourists is sometimes understood as an interaction between hosts and guests, and SET has been applied to study the balance between these parties [18
]. As a result, studies show that when the expected benefits set by tourists and perceived by residents are balanced, their interactions proceed without conflict [28
]. However, few studies have examined the socio–psychological situations resulting from the establishment of a relationship between the people who maintain the destination and the people who visit the destination for a short period.
After tourism development, the community atmosphere in the region is also different from when most residents were engaged in agriculture or manufacturing. Unlike traditional industries, tourism generates profits at the same time as supply, so there are antithetical relative conditions to cooperation or competition among the residents. Reasonably, the community can collectively express its position on tourism development to pursue collective interests and, in this way, enhance the positive effects of tourism. In order to maximize the economic, social, and cultural benefits, it is better to communicate with the community and to redistribute profits than to engage in individual actions [29
]. However, these findings seek profit from the perspective of residents, but fail to explain the different positions and related changes made by tourism interests within the community [28
]. Few studies show the individual positions of residents. Previous studies assume the homogeneity and unidirectionality of the community, despite the presence of heterogeneity among residents [20
]. Thus, various attitudes toward tourism within the community should be analyzed in future work [33
Based on the theoretical review above, to gain a deeper understanding of the lives of residents in a tourist destination, it is necessary to examine the following three elements of previous tourism studies that discussed residents.
Studies about the stance of the individual as a resident in the tourist destination on tourism development
Studies on the influence of the interaction between individuals as residents and tourists
Studies on the relationship emerging from the situation of tourism within the local community
However, when considering the above three areas, using the existing theories of fragmented frames is insufficient. Therefore, because more extensive and integrated research is needed [34
], the precedence of macroscopic investigations without structural research suppositions could inspire further studies. The present study adopted a phenomenological research methodology to perform empirical tests suggested by the many past studies on residents [9
By assuming that the lives of residents are difficult to schematize, this study has attempted to conduct phenomenological research in which the essence of lived experience is understood via the subjective recognition of an individual. From the outcomes thus derived, three factors for discussion can be put forth.
The first finding for being a resident with an inevitable choice indicates that the residents do not make a rational choice for the greatest gain; however, they do accept a situation based on their values. This is connected to the previous studies that proved the impacts of tourism development cannot explain each resident’s unique way of thinking [11
]. Because each individual has different values, each local resident takes a different stance on their involvement in and support for tourism development. For this reason, there is still a need to study the multivariate values of local residents, despite a great deal of research [57
] on the socio-cultural effects of tourism. Future research should assume that local residents’ attitudes toward tourism can be determined by their own internal factors (values), not by the resultant factors in tourism development. Tourism studies can provide more meaningful information to tourism policymakers by identifying the values (fatalistic attitudes and local patriotism in this study) related to residents’ attitudes toward tourism, and by verifying their influence on local residents’ behavioral choices. For example, by analyzing residents’ inclinations in a destination ahead of tourism development on the basis of these factors, it is possible to suggest which policies would be more contributive to the destination, whether they be guaranteed employment at large externally-invested hotels or supported by the direct operations of small accommodations.
The second finding of the meaning of tourism via the lived experience of a resident indicates that the tourism industry has long-term lasting effects on the local residents in the destination. Social Exchange Theory has often been used for studies on residents [20
], but the ‘expected benefit balance’ and ‘exchange’ are valid only for a short timeframe. In reality, the balance-point of the residents continues to fluctuate, whereas tourist visits persist. However, if the balance of expected benefits is broken, and exchange does not happen, the problems of the residents do not stop there. Residents continue living in the area, regardless of whether this exchange status lasts, under the conditions that have been changed by the expectations of residents (for example, an extended room in anticipation of an increased number of guests or a family member who quit his or her previous job for a home-based tour program). Thus, cross-sectional research should be increased to develop responsible logic for the ‘continuous lives after the events’ of residents in the tourist destination.
The last finding of the Formation of conflict indicates that the internal and external conflicts of the residents arise from the same thing. Considering that conflicts arise due to the differences in residents’ positions on the same incident, tourism studies should further examine the conflicts of the residents. In recent decades, sociology has interpreted conflicts from a traditional perspective and a cognitive perspective. The traditional approach is an economic and exchangeable approach that understands conflict through material rewards. Therefore, it is understood that conflict control is a process in which participants adjust their mutual interests and reach an optimal point of benefit. On the other hand, the cognitive approach defines a cognitive frame about conflict issues as a conflict frame and asserts that the parties in a conflict will hold on to a specific mode of understanding and interpretation through the specific cognitive frame for the issues of conflict [60
]. There is always complicated conflict between the various participants and issues of tourist destination. In particular, tourism studies should analyze the conflict frame structure and content perceived by residents and interpret the differences in the understanding of each position. Based on comprehensive conflict analysis modeling, it is possible to mutually communicate with residents in a tourist destination.
A municipality plans tourism development because tourism may be profitable for the residents in an area where traditional industries have collapsed [8
]. Ironically, tourism studies sometimes analyze residents in order to successfully lead tourism development. By visualizing residents as they actually are, this study suggests that each resident is important as an individual. Like analyzing consumer behavior, the residents in a tourist destination need to be segmented by different conditions.
As the research questions of this study were explored, the theoretical implications were revealed. The first research question sought to improve our understanding of the residents in a tourist destination without proving variable relationships, and the second research question sought to improve our understanding of the residents in a tourist destination by gaining longitudinal experience. These results were confirmed by the effects of local patriotism. Many prior studies have demonstrated the psychological factors possessed by residents for positively supporting tourism development [61
], but the psychological factors of residents were not the emotions that emerged when supporting tourism development in this study. Local patriotism allows residents to continue living at their destination under any circumstances, both in support of tourism development and in opposition to it. In addition, only conditions at a single time-point were explained by past studies that investigated residents’ perceptions of tourist impacts. Intermittently meeting with tourists could affect the character formation of residents according to the longitudinal question. The residents’ positions on tourists are subjective and difficult to measure [22
], and a valid theory is needed to better understand the perceptions of tourists [63
]. This study, prior to using a theoretical approach, observed, understood, and expanded the foundation of the views of the relationships that are formed among residents.
The influence of SET continues to be maintained, despite criticism that the theory cannot fully explain the perceptions of residents [9
]. This is because researchers are too mindful of the relationship between the gains and losses of residents when explaining their experiences. It is necessary to look at the situation in an integrated way, away from the premise that exchanges occur. In this study, which looked at life as a resident, tourism development at the destination was a long-term process, not a single exchange. Thus, subsequent studies aimed at sustainability require discussions on the factors that can offer residents benefits and satisfaction over a long period. To do this, longitudinal studies are required, and comparisons with cross-sectional studies would also enrich the discussion. If we clarify the economic and social factors that cause changes in the tourist support and attitudes of residents over a long period of time, tourism research could consistently yield practical implications that are beneficial to the residents. This interpretative and exploratory research is expected to be used to provide new directions for future positivist research.